VPN Myths: 7 Misconceptions about Virtual Private Networks

Once the domain of tech connoisseurs and privacy experts, Virtual Private Networks have been pervading the lives of everyday internet users. And that’s a good thing, obviously. But there seems to be a lot of misconceptions about VPNs, regarded by some as magic bullets. Put simply, they are not.

We don’t read enough, we skim, we rely on word of mouth instead of doing our own research, and, more often than not, we are overly confident (read: careless).

Here to give you a better idea of what a VPN is not is a list of common misconceptions about VPNs.

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1. Any VPN Will Do

Far from it. There are a lot of products on the market right now, each with its pros and cons. What you should most definitely avoid are free VPNs. VPNs cost money to run. VPN providers need revenues to sustain their business. If they’re not charging you, then they’re making money off of you. Yes, you guessed it, they are selling your data.

Perhaps this is a bit harsh. Not all free VPNs are monetizing your behavior, some offer a free version in the hopes of luring you to buy a subscription.

Another thing to avoid is lifetime subscriptions. Pay once and you get to enjoy privacy and security forever and ever. Similar to the plight of free VPNs, once the cash from those purchases run out, a VPN service provider is going to have to figure out a way to keep cash coming in. I think you see where this is going now.

Again, to be fair, not all lifetime subscription offers are a ruse. Some companies choose to offer lifetime subscriptions when in need of a cash boost.

Further reading: VPN Lifetime Subscription: A Cautionary Tale

2. ‘Negligible’ Drop in Speed

For every VPN that we’ve tested, using the word ‘negligible’ to describe the drop in speed would be a stretch. Surely, if you’re casually browsing, you won’t feel much of a difference. But the drop will become noticeable if you’re engaging in heavier use: large file download, video chatting, video streaming, uploading, and so on. The choice of tunneling protocol, encryption and decryption, the quality of a server, the load, and the extra distance that your traffic travels will take a toll on how fast your connection will be.

A VPN might increase your connection speed though. Some Internet Service Providers may be throttling your connection. This happens when the ISP decides to slow down your connection to services that consume a lot of data, primarily when you visit video streaming site. Using a VPN here will actually increase your speed as your ISP will have no way of telling what web services you are visiting.

3. VPNs Are Still the Domain of Tech Savvy Internet Users

Setting up a VPN on a router may be challenging for some, but for all major platforms – Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android – VPN service providers offer native apps that require a few clicks to install and run – most will set the strongest protocol as default, some will even offer to choose the best server for you.

What’s more, VPN service providers typically have comprehensive, step by step installation guides available on their website. And if that’s not enough, the support teams are readily available for help. Just don’t be shy to ask.

4. Once I Install a VPN I Have Nothing to Fear

That’s an alarming thing to hear. As we’ve argued in a previous article, VPNs are not silver bullets. When you choose to use a VPN, you are merely shifting your trust from your ISP to the VPN.

However, there are more reasons to place your trust in a VPN, namely because trust is their core value proposition, their bread and butter. Forfeiting that would be a huge business mistake on their part. Aside from the less knows, shadier services out there, all major VPN providers go to great length to guarantee your safety.

We must also note here that despite all the advances in security technology, the unbreakable truth is that anything can be broken, every password cracked, and every firewall smashed.

5. Not Every Internet User Needs a VPN

This is perhaps the most alarming of misconceptions. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 10 years, you must have heard of at least half a dozen security breaches. Just remember that you converse with your friends and family, occasionally about private and sensitive issues, online; you’ve probably got important, perhaps classified work-related data stored somewhere online; your banking and credit card information are up there too.

6. No More Pesky Ads

Wrong. VPNs hide your IP and encrypt your data, but ad networks use cookies to identify you. There is little that a VPN can do to keep ads away from you. In fact, some VPNs serve up their own ads or sell your browsing data.

7. I am Looking for the Best VPN

It does not exist. Every VPN app is unique, each one comes with its strengths and weaknesses. It all boils down finding the most adequate app based on your needs. Your priority could be privacy, circumventing regional content restrictions, privacy, or avoiding throttling. All of these considerations will help determine which VPN is best for you. Still, there are some VPN service providers such as ExpressVPN that are better than others. Here are the top VPNs according to the various tests we’ve conducted.

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1
Price
85
Security
95
Features
95
Speed
95
Support
90
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2
Price
90
Security
95
Features
95
Speed
85
Support
90
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3
Price
85
Security
90
Features
95
Speed
90
Support
90
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4
Price
85
Security
85
Features
90
Speed
95
Support
90
Visit Now